THEME: "Winning by a Nose"—Phrases that begin with units that can be the MARGIN OF VICTORY
- 17A: "That fact is worth considering" (A POINT WELL TAKEN). In basketball and Scrabble, among other games, you might win by A POINT.
- 26A: "Brilliant!" (A STROKE OF GENIUS). In golf, you win by at least A STROKE.
- 47A: Wall Street nightmare (A RUN ON THE MARKET). In baseball and softball, the team wins by A RUN, if not multiple runs.
- 64A: Winning difference—a small one starts 17-, 26- and 47-Across (MARGIN OF VICTORY).
Crosswordese 101: We've covered OAS and ARUM before, so let's tackle our Latin AMAT today. (Note to self and co-bloggers: Next time SMEE appears, he wants to be the 101 lesson.) AMAT is clued as 53D: Latin trio word. This "Latin trio" is the conjugation of AMO, AMAS, AMAT: I love, you love, he loves. All three of these pop up regularly in the crossword, so be on the lookout for 'em.
Ideally, two different forms of the same word do not appear in the same puzzle. Here, the Italian AMORE (16A: Love abroad) derives from the Latin word in 53D, so we dock the puzzle A POINT on the elegance scale.
And now, my favorite clues and answers:
- 14A: Utterly unapproachable (COLD AS ICE). If you're anything like me (i.e., in my age range), you can't encounter that phrase without continuing, "you're willing to sacrifice our love":
- 68A: "Reach!" (STICK 'EM UP). Straight up, a terrific piece of crossword fill. I'm hearing Woody from Toy Story barking "Reach for the sky!"
- 18D: Unlike any vowels in dictionaries? (LONG). Meaning that the vowel sounds in the word dictionaries are all short vowels.
- 39D: Morning awakener, perhaps (SUNLIGHT). This summer, I've been wishing the curtains in my bedroom window, on the west side of the building, were thicker. Too much sunlight! Do not want. I'd like to sleep in all month, if that's okay.
- 45D: "I'm thinking..." ("HMM..."). Short and simple, looks weird in the grid. I like it.
Everything Else — 1A: Hook's mate (SMEE); 5A: Swedish import (SAAB); 9A: Letter vendor? (SAJAK); 16A: Love abroad (AMORE); 17A: "That fact is worth considering" (A POINT WELL TAKEN); 19A: Approaching the hour (TEN TO); 20A: Janis's comics mate (ARLO); 21A: Piquancy (ZEST); 22A: Clandestine maritime org. (ONI); 24A: Sgt., for one (NCO); 26A: "Brilliant!" (A STROKE OF GENIUS); 35A: Japanese drama (NOH); 36A: Fair-sized fair (EXPO); 37A: Petrol measure (LITRE); 38A: Angelou's "And Still __" (I RISE); 41A: Places for RNs (ERS); 42A: CafÈ container (TASSE); 43A: Not hit off the ground (TEE UP); 44A: Premature, perhaps (RASH); 46A: W. Hemisphere alliance (OAS); 47A: Wall Street nightmare (A RUN ON THE MARKET); 51A: Shaq's alma mater (LSU); 52A: Wall St. wall plaque (MBA); 53A: Inclusive prefix (AMBI-); 56A: Final Four gp. (NCAA); 60A: Middle of three black keys (A FLAT); 64A: Winning differenceóa small one starts 17-, 26- and 47-Across (MARGIN OF VICTORY); 67A: Menotti's shepherd boy (AMAHL); 69A: Sip or bite (TASTE); 70A: Piece of work (TASK); 71A: Musician's mailing (DEMO); 1D: Word to a pest (SCAT); 2D: Brood (MOPE); 3D: North Carolina campus (ELON); 4D: Prose pro (EDITOR); 5D: Old JFK arrival (SST); 6D: Bygone audio brand (AIWA); 7D: One offering outstanding services? (ACER); 8D: Bossy's ringer (BELL); 9D: Minded the kids (SAT); 10D: Endangered South American watershed (AMAZONIA); 11D: Part of a routine (JOKE); 12D: War deity (ARES); 13D: Daily Planet reporter (KENT); 15D: "That's __!": parental warning (A NO-NO); 23D: Tina's ex (IKE); 25D: Druid, for one (CELT); 26D: Ekberg of "La Dolce Vita" (ANITA); 27D: More angry (SORER); 28D: 1960s-'70s South Vietnamese president (THIEU); 29D: Bring to bear (EXERT); 30D: Daytime TV mogul (OPRAH); 31D: "All That Jazz" choreographer (FOSSE); 32D: "Not to worry!" (IT'S OK); 33D: Latin bears (URSAE); 34D: Behold, of old (SEEST); 40D: Long poem (EPOS); 48D: Former Georgia senator Sam (NUNN); 49D: Taken __: shocked (ABACK); 50D: Took a Grand Canyon trip, say (RAFTED); 54D: Crib word (MAMA); 55D: Tops at the beach (BRAS); 57D: Go for (COST); 58D: Mennen lotion (AFTA); 59D: Dollar competitor (AVIS); 61D: Togo's capital (LOME); 62D: Calla lily family (ARUM); 63D: Slip of the finger? (TYPO); 65D: Seine sight (ILE); 66D: "Ugh!" ("ICK!").